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The Civil War Battles to End of Slavery


Cannon on a ridge that over looked the Bull Run creek
Cannon on a ridge that over looked the Bull Run creek

The on the morning of July 16, 1861, thirty-five thousand soldiers gathered in Washington, D.C. They were called Unionists from the North. Their leader was Irvin MacDowell. Most of these soldiers had never fought in war before. They thought it would be easy and that they would soon go home to their families. They were very wrong!


The Unionist soldiers got ready to march south, from Washington, D.C. to Richmond, Virginia. They wanted to fight the Confederate soldiers in the South. If they captured the town of Richmond, the South would lose the Civil War and the Unionists from the North would win. The soldiers included men from many professions, such as barbers and farmers.

Confident Soldiers Make a Plan
As the soldiers began their march, they were followed hundreds of people who thought it would be interesting to watch a war. As they walked closer to Manassas junction, they picked berries and filled up their water jugs. It was like they were going to the movies! Can you imagine walking out to a battle site to watch a war, just for entertainment?

Manassas junction was where the Alexandria railroad met the Manassas Gap railroad. If McDowell and his union army could stop the confederate soldiers at this junction, they could have easy excess to Richmond, the headquarters for the confederate army, and the War would come to a quick end.

Near Manassas junction, there was a creek called Bull Run. Northern troops and their followers stopped there to eat lunch and get ready to battle with the Confederate soldiers, who were on their way. During the next few days, Union soldiers dug trenches and set up a command post.

The Battle at Bull Run, Manassas Junction
In the early morning of July 22, 1861, near the stone bridge at Bull Run, shots rang out. The battle lasted only one day, but 900 soldiers lay dead. The inexperieinced Union soldiers fled. They were so scared! They had never seen anything so horrible in their lives! That's when they realized that winning the war with the Confederates was going to be much harder than they had thought.

The Battle at Antietam
Bull Run was a bloody battle, but nothing compared to the battle of Antietam. There, 87,000 union soldiers and about 40,000 confederate soldiers fought a battle. A lot of the fighting was hand-to-hand combat - they didn't even use guns or knives. The bloodiest day of the entire Civil War occurred on September 17, 1862. On that day alone, 23,010 soldiers were dead: 12,410 union men and 10,700 confederate men.

At Last - The Abolition of Slavery
The abolitionists were people, both black and white, who believed that slavery was wrong. They wanted President Lincoln to make it illegal for anyone to own another person. They held rallies and passed out pamphlets and wrote lots of letters to the president.

Lincoln wanted the unionists to win the war. He also decided that slavery was wrong. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This document officially freed all slaves... From that point on, the Civil War had two purposes: to preserve the union AND to end slavery.


Please email me at: nick@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Daphne - And the answer is "c) We are ignorant of our past"
Irene - Was the Civil War really about freedom
Stephanie - I'm nine but I can still fight!